Last Tuesday night I was chatting with my groovy friend Christopher about my musical roots and, most specifically, my Dad’s musical influence on me.
He asked if I could sing one of the Yiddish songs from my childhood. And they were all lost.
All of the music that Dad performed was like an ethereal smoke.
I could sense it. I could taste its essence. I couldn’t grasp it in my brain. I could barely string together two phrases from songs that were so deeply ingrained by my Dad.
I missed the connection between deep, dormant roots. I felt disconnected from my core familial and musical history.
The next day I tried to phonetically find some of the Yiddish songs to no avail… and only after a deep dive into Spotify, did I find one of the songs: “Sheyn Vi Di Levone“. This version was produced with a bombastic, heavy metal flair. I sent it to my brother, Jonathan. He said it was just like Grandma used to sing…HA!
It was the perfect moment to ask…
You see, in the mid to late 90’s my Dad recorded 16 songs at home on a small rectangular tape recorder. All live. All one take. Dad playing piano and singing in his living room in Sunrise, FL. He recorded all of these songs for me.
When Dad passed away in 2003, my brother Jonathan (who also happens to be an extremely talented audio engineer and multi-instrumentalist) made a digital copy of the tape. If memory serves, Jonathan wanted to keep the original and I wouldn’t let him.
Jonathan is very clearly the more responsible of the two of us. He would still have that original in his hand. I somehow lost it.
Anyway, he didn’t respond when I asked about the digital copy.
I figured I would find a way to ask again later.
Fast forward to today…
While I was at work I got an email from Jonathan through a transfer site. My birthday is in a few days so I thought that my darling brother had sent me a gift card or somesuch- he’s a REALLY good brother.
When I scrolled through and saw what was actually gifted in this email, I lost my breath. I doubled over. I couldn’t speak… and I was in the middle of a wickedly busy day at the restaurant.
Staff members thought something was terribly wrong. It took me a few minutes to compose myself. And a bit longer before I could string together words to describe what had caused this extreme reaction of breathlessness, tears, and joy.
I was about to hear my Dad’s voice for the first time in nearly 15 years.
The moment I got out of work and into my car, I downloaded the files.
The instant I heard his voice I could hear (and feel) exactly what Mark had heard decades before.
Pure, unadulterated, boundless love.
The kind of love that transcends space and time.
We often take for granted these seemingly small gifts.
I am so lucky to be loved by both of these men in my family.
These juicy teardrops that continue to stream down my cheeks brim with joy and gratitude.
Hold those who truly love and get you close, my friends. Tomorrow isn’t promised.
I can not wait to share this music with my daughters.